After finishing its intensive tour abroad and having organized Sirenos, the largest international theatre festival in Vilnius, OKT/Vilnius City theatre is to start the seventh theatrical season with holding a premiere of its newest production Playing the Victim on November 17-18 and November 28, 29 in Vilnius.
THE POWER OF PARADOX
The first sketches of this performance after the play by the Presnyakov brothers were introduced to the festival organizers, producers and foreign correspondents during the presentation of the Lithuanian theatre showcase at “Sirenos” festival. The Presnyakov brothers, authors of the international hit Terrorism, are the most popular Russian playwrights in the world. Valya, the anti-hero of their new play translated to Lithuanian by famous author Sigitas Parulskis, is employed by the police department. His task is to help and reconstruct the events of murder scenes: a suspected killer acts out his part, while Valya ‘plays the victim’. This is not just his job: it is also part of his life, which has obvious parallels to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. „ I am very happy to see the birth of such plays as Playing the Victim nowadays. It is only from apprearance that the play by the Presnyakovs looks somewhat exotic, but actually, it very obviously discloses the reality of Russia, or perhaps even that of the whole world. Because really, one cannot perceive reality in another way than as a certain paradox. If we grasp the true reality, which is not seeming or imaginary, we encounter with something unexpected and paradoxical. The Russian oberyut poets claimed to be realists, and Meyerhold also considered himself to be so. But if we have still a closer look, we will clearly see that a strong drama is always built on paradox. So if the material allows us to create a paradox on the stage, just at the presence of the audience, then we may talk about a theatrical event. Where there is no paradox, we may only talk about cloning and converting of some conventional values, when they are just transferred from one sphere to another,“ comments director Oskaras Korsunovas on the performance.
BEING IN THE SKIN OF A CHAMELEON
In the words of a famous ancient thinker, the whole life of a philosopher is just preparation for his death. The same was preached in Christianity, which honoured and glorified the sacrifice of the Lord. This existentialist tradition is followed by brothers Vladimir and Oleg Presnyakov, who give it also a feature of contemporary simulacres. In their play, the character is playing the victim. So the meaning of his life reveals in the process of acting, when in everyday settings he is enacting the heroes of Shakespeare, as well as Greek and Eastern cultures. This position must be showing the tragical and therefore theatrical destiny of the hero, rather than the anatomy of the victim itself. According to the director, here the Presnyakovs are speaking about a certain kind of conformism: „Those people, who realize in their young years the ways how one structure can change into another, how values can go down, often become cynical. Or they turn into chameleons,“ says Korsunovas. The main role in this performance is played by Darius Gumauskas. Apart from Egle Mikulionyte, Vaidotas Martinaitis, Algis Dainavicius, and Dainius Gavenonis, who are the constant fellows of OKT, this production also employs impressive and colourful roles by Kostas Smoriginas, Dalia Brenciute, Ruta Butkute, Ramunas Rudokas and Julius Zalakevicius. The expressive – as usual – set design by Jurate Paulekaite is complemented by concert insertions whose author is a mysterious composer Micklukho McLaren. He has created some „criminal“ songs for the new OKT production and seems to be risky enough for conquering Lithuanian market and even the spaces of „motherly“ Russia by his music. This „variety show“ should also make an profound impression on you! After its Vilnius premiere, Playing the Victim is to be presented at Siauliai centre of culture on November 21, then in Community house at Panevezys on November 30, and finally be introduced to the audience of Kaunas and Klaipeda.
OKT / Vilnius City theatre information